Is this the end of the Patriots?



I’d normally like to keep my column localish, pertaining to local teams or Texas professional and college teams.

I could write about the heart attack I nearly suffered in the Texans’ 22-19 overtime win over Buffalo in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Or I could write about how much I like the Cowboys’ hiring of Mike McCarthy — I really do like that hire.

I could tell you how impressive the Pleasanton women’s soccer team was in their opening matches at the Battle of the Brush Country.

But, as I watched the Tennessee Titans outplay and out-coach the great Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, I started to wonder if I was watching the end of the greatest franchise of all time.

National pundits started to question if this was the end of Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty. They dissected every single word from his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Belichick, staying true to his stoic nature, deflected any questions about the future because he wanted to dissect the game film and figure out where to improve.

He was even asked if he anticipated Brady’s return for the 2020 season.

“Right now we just finished the game, so we’re focused on this game,” he said.

On a rainy night, Brady was not great. The 42-yearold hasn’t been his usual great self for most of the season, with hints of greatness slipping through the cracks of a team lacking the same weapons that made them great.

It’s kind of weird to say that even though Brady was 373-of-613 passing for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns. New England was also 12-4.

It just didn’t look like the typical New England we were accustomed to seeing.

They lost to Miami (5-11) in the final week of the season. They just weren’t the same without Rob Gronkowski or any legitimate receiving threat.

Now it’s time to play the role of conspiracy theorist to an extent. Brady is either returning with the Patriots in 2020 or he’s retiring, in my opinion.

After the game, the sixtime Super Bowl winner said, “I love the Patriots. I mean, they obviously – this is the greatest organization, and playing for Mr. [Robert] Kraft all these years and for coach [Bill] Belichick – there’s nobody that’s had a better career, I would say, than me, just being with them.”

Following that, Brady was asked about the likelihood of him retiring.

“I would say it’s pretty unlikely, but – yeah, hopefully unlikely,” he said.

If you read between the lines, Brady wants to finish his career with the Patriots. However, he’s now an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can go anywhere he wants if he so chooses.

Brady is also a fierce competitor, he just wants to win. That’s why in the past, he’s taken pay cuts so they could pay Gronk, or Randy Moss or any other of the receivers who have come through the locker room of Gillette Stadium.

In my opinion though, the free agency is just something the University of Michigan graduate wants to use as leverage to force New England to reload with weapons around him.

If New England doesn’t bring in offensive help to supplement receiver Julian Edelman, expect this to be Brady’s last season.

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